Mona Kastell is an ecoscenographer and community engagement practitioner with a strong interest in social and ecological conscious design with over 12 years of professional experience, including stage and costume design in devised, street and physical theatre, dance, film, and participatory art installations.
Ecoscenography “contributive practice integrates transdisciplinary practices with community engagement putting the highlight on creating positive legacies, advancing the designer forward to a more active role of change agent (Beer 2016 in Castel 2017:2).” Taking the lead as designer/maker, Mona engages herself holistically in her practice which actively instigates positive social and environmental change. This alternative approach to design provides sustainable tools to visually communicate ecological concepts to audiences to co-create new narratives for the future of our society and the planet.
Following her Permaculture Design certificate, Mona received a distinction for her Masters in Ecological Design Thinking from Schumacher College, during which she explored ecological design thinking in performance across disciplines. It concluded in The Whole Designer Manifesto, placing Nature, wellbeing, interconnectivity and authentic community engagement at the heart of her creative process, using natural materials and found objects.
Her most significant costume work is L’Eveil, a costume-led performance that pushes the boundaries of costume and grows further the integral role of the costume as the centre of the performance instead of its typically established simple decorative role. The costume is created not around a character or an idea but through the relationship between body, material, movement and observer, creating a strong visual dynamic. Short-listed for World of Wearable Art, Creative Scotland funded L’Eveil to be created as part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012. It was performed at Glasgow Arches Live and featured at the SBTD UK Design for Performance 2011 – 2015 MAKE:BELIEVE exhibition and in the Blue Pages.
As part of her creative practice, Mona is also available to deliver ecological interactive talks & workshops and ecological consultancy for organizations wishing to develop their understanding in Ecological Design Thinking within the creative industry.
Mona is interested in hearing about collaboration with peers who are interested in exploring ecological practices and community engagement within theatre making.
Mona is a member of:
Talks and conferences
- 2019 Arts & Health Talk, the making of Glimpsing Air Pockets, Dance Base
- 2019 Ecoscenography in Action: What does it mean to be a designer in the 21st century?, Edinburgh College of Art
- 2019 Intro to Ecoscenography, Edinburgh Shrub Coop
- 2017 Ecological Theatre Making – Artist Talk & Discusion, Green Tease, Creative Carbon Scotland
- 2019 Be-Wildered in the City, Eco Phenomenological Walk, Schumacher Scotland
- 2019 Nature Connection switch in, Nature Walk, Knockengorroch Festival
- 2019 Creative and Sustainable Design, Edinburgh Shrub Coop
- 2019 Greenspaces, Community Planning Workshop, Save Leith Walk
- 2018 Moving Forward Campaign, Edinburgh Palette
- 2017 Compass Rose, Community Arts,Wellbeing Network
- 2017 Eco Body Art, Seed Festival
- 2017 Nature Connection Tree intervention, Community Arts, Knockengorroch Festival
- 2011 Costume Making, Beltane Fire Festival
- 2011 Various Arts & Crafts workshops, Community Arts Works
- 2010 Props Making, Festival of Youth Theatre
- 2010 Costume Making, Beltane Fire Festival
- 2009 Various Arts & Crafts workshops, Wheels & Sticks Art & Social Group
Artist Exhibitions & Residencies
- 2019 The Faery Trail, Bury Art & Sculpture Centre & Curated Place, Manchester – in collaboration with Lucas Chih-Peng Kao
- 2015 Re-See it, Maldevich House, Granton:Hub
- 2015 Re-See it & ArtCop21, St Margaret’s House & Creative Carbon Scotland
- 2015 Make-Believe, UK Design for Performance 2011-2015, SBTD, Nottingham University
- 2014 Residents Summer Show, Edinburgh Palette
- 2012 Contextus: a re-weaving of fabric’s context in Art, Curio gallery, Edinburgh
- 2019 Paper – Ecoscenography in action: Bridging Stage Design with Nature Connection to shape sustainable communities and wellbeing, Scene on Sustainability, Scene Intellect – publication in progress
- 2017 MA thesis – Seeking wholeness _an ecoscenographer’s deep journey in and within Nature, Schumacher College & Plymouth University
- 2016 Article – ‘Scotland’s first living stage‘ (co-written with Tanja Beer), SBTD Blue Pages
- 2012 Article – ‘Costume as starting point for devising performance‘, SBTD Blue Pages
- 2016 Article – Ecological Design Thinking MA Crowdfunding, in French newspapers ‘Ouest France’ & ‘Le Telegramme’
- 2013 Review – Walking Shadow, Bachtrack
- 2013 Review – Jacques Brel: In Song and Dance, Bachtrack
- 2012 Review – L’Eveil, The Scotsman & The Herald
- 2012 Review – Puss in Boots, The Scotsman, The Stage & The Public Review
- 2012 Article – Get into Theatre interview, Creative & Cultural Skills
- 2008 Article – Rising stars, The Stage
Awards & Funding
- 2016 The David Orr scholarship, to study MA Ecological Design Thinking
- 2016 Educational Bursary, Schumacher College, to study MA Ecological Design Thinking
- 2016 Educational Grant, Equity Charitable Trust, to study MA Ecological Design Thinking
- 2012 Quality Production Funding, Creative Scotland, to develop L’Eveil, a costume-led performance at Arches Live 2012
- 2010 Professional Development, Creative Scotland, towards the cost of travel and accommodation to attend the World of Wearable Arts Awards and research the costume industry in New Zealand.